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Americans cut back on fast food, but why?

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A separate report from the CDC found more good news among youths: American children and adolescents consumed fewer calories in 2010 than they did a decade before, the first decline in caloric intake among children in more than 40 years.

Americans have long had a troubled relationship with diet and weight – two-thirds of American adults are considered overweight or obese, and about 17 percent of youths are considered obese – and the CDC’s reports offered hope to many in the nutrition and health fields. 

“It’s a trend in the right direction,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. “That’s good news. This is a cause for mild celebration.”

Among the studies’ findings:

• During 2007-2010, adults consumed 11.3 percent of total daily calories from fast food, on average, compared with 12.8 percent between 2003-2006.

• Blacks consumed more of their calories from fast food than did whites or Hispanics: 15 percent compared to 11 percent.

• Young adults ages 20 to 39 also consumed higher rates of fast food than Americans 60 and over: 15 percent compared with 11 percent.

• Young black adults ages 20 to 39 had the highest rates of fast food consumption; they got 21 percent of their calories from fast food.

• Calorie consumption for boys ages 2 to 19 dropped 7 percent between 1999 and 2010, from 2,260 calories per day to 2,100.

• Girls’ calorie consumption dropped 4 percent over the same period, from 1,830 calories to 1,760.

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